I recently wrote some shorts for my writing class (I know, I know, I’m talking a lot about that lately). Shorts are those small blurbs you find in the beginnings of newspaper sections and magazines, which give you a little bit of information on a topic and are often accompanied by pictures. They’re very important in food writing these days, as they tend to be catchy and interesting and focus on unique little food items, shops, ingredients, and so on. In the New York Times only one writer, fellow Smith alum Florence Fabricant, writes the shorts (called “Food Stuff“). The Boston Globe refers to them as “Short Orders” and asks freelancers for their stories.
Shallots are the professioal chef’s secret weapon. Pricier than yellow or white onions, shallots in small doses can go a long way. Some say that if you use too many it’s like killing a dish with garlic. Often confused with scallions, or spring onions, shallots are nothing like their long-stemmed green counterparts. They grow in clusters and look like large, lavender-colored garlic cloves. The sweetly sharp flavor of shallots bring umami (that extra-good taste) to sauces, soups, and marinades. Toss them with shrimp scampi or use them in your next tomato sauce. They come in loose bulk or nets and can be found in most well-stocked grocery stores. Shallots will give you the flavor you need to create restaurant-quality food, the rest however is up to you.
Available in Boston at Stop ‘n’ Shop ($2.49/lb) and Whole Foods ($3.99/lb).